We currently rent the house we are living in. This spring, I had such an urge to dig up the side yard that gets the best sun and plant a full-fledged garden in the ground. Too bad not everyone appreciates a good garden as much as I do. Until that time comes, I have really taken to container gardening. We have a pretty big concrete area adjacent to the south side of the house, which was certainly put there for me to use as a garden spot, right?
Last year, I had my first container garden and absolutely loved it. Everything grew great, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce. It was awesome. Or was it beginners luck? I dunno, but we sure had a fantastic harvest. This year I’ve gone slightly crazy with the container garden. I am fairly limited by the space we have available, but I really packed them in there as much as I could. So what did I choose to plant?
Three varieties of tomatoes – two cherry and one beefsteak. All indeterminate varieties (a decision I might come to regret later in the season). Five zucchini plants (it would have been six, had I noticed one was dead upon arrival). Maybe that was for the best though. Six eggplant, two peppers, one okra (the other two mysteriously died one day…sad face), lots of chocolate mint, arugula, green onions, balloon lettuce and some Calibrachoa from Shane as an anniversary gift. Oh, plus an entire aerogarden full of genovese basil. But that’s inside, so maybe it doesn’t count?
I’m still somewhat of a beginner when it comes to this whole gardening thing, so rather than start all of the plants from seed indoors, we opted to buy starts in June (yes, I know, kind of late…) to give the garden a better shot. Perhaps in the coming years, we will attempt starting our own seedlings indoors. Something about the hardening off process and my full-time work schedule make me think I would just kill all of them. That would make me so sad. My track record as a “plant mom” is pretty good so far, and I prefer to keep it that way. I tend to become somewhat overprotective of my plants, and watching them die en masse would be downright depressing.
Now that it’s been a month and a half since we planted the garden, we are starting the reap the benefits. The zucchini have been early and prolific producers. It’s crazy how fast they grew. Like downright insane. We have had so many zucchini lately, that it is becoming somewhat of a game to see what new and creative ways we can use and not get bored of them.
The peppers have also been doing better than last year, which was unexpected but very much welcomed. The tomatoes seem like they are taking downright forever to ripen. The beefsteak have been growing enormous, and those pesky cherry look so perfectly plump and delicious, if only they started to change color.
The eggplants have been somewhat slower to mature, and they’re also been a beacon for the dreaded potato beetle. I’ve been out there daily killing all of the life stages, especially those little larvae guys, which truly makes me sad. I’m not a person who enjoys harming others, even if it’s a bug that will relentlessly defoliate my entire eggplant herd. It’s either that or they would be completely dead within several weeks. Sometimes we do what we have to. The eggplant just started flowering, so I want to at least give them a shot at producing. It’s my first time growing eggplant, so it would be nice to get just a few!
The garden has definitely given me a lesson in patience. We live in such a fast-paced and hectic world, and expect everything at the drop of a hat. One thing you don’t experience when buying your food from the grocery store is just how much effort and care is put into creating the food you eat. Months of hard work (and water!) are put into growing, harvesting and transporting the food to you. Gardening has really helped me appreciate the food that I am eating. Nothing tastes better than a tomato you spent months watering, fertilizing and pulling suckers off of.
Another of my favorite things about having a garden is that it cuts back on the environmental impact of your food so dramatically. There is no fuel cost to get it to me, no pesticides used in its production, no plastic wrappers or cardboard boxes used for its storage. It’s something that makes me happy to my core, knowing that I am doing my part to make just a bit of difference.
Let me know if you guys enjoy this type of post. I just love nature, so it’s fun to talk about how I am incorporating it into my life every once in awhile. I’m hoping to plant a few more things soon, for a Fall harvest, can’t wait! Leave a comment below if you are having a pest problem in your garden, such as the potato beetle, and let me know how you deal with them.